Hi Slayer, another epic thread from you!
I made a similar post a while back on how simple machines (inclined plane, levers) were the tools used in building pyramids, which is here (I didn't
go into anywhere near as much depth as you did):
Theories on Constructing Pyramids with Simple Mechanics
When all is said and done, I believe Herodotus had accurately described the method used, levers lifting the block up each course at which point they
could then be dragged into place. True, his text came 2,000 years after the fact, but they were still building pyramids and monuments in his day and
it's not likely the method would have changed drastically.
The ramp theories that involve long ramps, or winding ramps, aren't workable. Too much work would have to go into construction of the ramp, and the
amount of labor to haul a block up a long ramp or a winding ramp is far too great, as compared to simply levering it up in a straight line.
Ramps create too many choke points that would foul up hauling teams. Ramps that have switch-backs or 90 degree turns leave the hauling teams with no
where to go while still attached to a load somewhere along on the ramp.
The use of the Djed as a pinion to solve this problem seems impractical on a lot of levels, and they don't have any references or support in
archeological finds (in fact it runs counter to it). It seems that anchoring it well enough to withstand the the sheer force imposed on it by the
weight of the blocks would require a much more elaborate base then what we are seeing, not to mention the Djed's themselves do not appear strong
enough for that stress without snapping in half. Franz Loehner pitched another theory that also made use of a "rope pinion" which is described in my
thread, very similar in that a rope for hauling would have to be routed around a pinion/pulley.
The problem with any of the theories that make use of pulleys and pinions is that archeologists don't attribute this technology to Egyptians. Maybe
they had it (without leaving us records of such), but found it not as practical as dragging and hauling. Ropes become too long, the amount of abrasion
by being pulled across pinions (as in the Queens chamber, or with Loehner's theory). Egyptian ropes were made from plant fibers and would never have
been up to the task of being dragged mercilessly across stanchions, pinions, or immobile "rollers" (they didn't actually roll) like you see in the
Queens Chamber. The longer a rope becomes the greater it's weight, and it's possible for even a modern rope to snap under it's own weight. When you
see ancient depictions of large hauling teams on ropes dragging a great weight (like in the Assyrian image
or this Egyptian image
) you're talking about very thick, stout rope
made to withstand the tensile forces for this but not nearly flexible enough or of a small enough diameter to work with pulleys and pinions.
These theories are only workable given modern high-tensile rope of smaller diameter and greater flexibility than what Egyptians had available.
If Djed's were used as pinions or pulleys, you would think there would be at least one image of them being used as such. Instead what we see with
them is a strictly symbolic representation, as an emblem of Osiris (leafless tree, backbone of Osiris, regeneration, etc.), it was used to decorate
the bases of coffins, and displayed with pharaohs, as a talisman, symbol of power, etc. See:
Raising the Djed
. This would seem to preclude the concept they were just tools.
This image which the theorists alludes would work as a pivot ball joint for his Djed pinions also seems off the mark;
They would have no ability to resist lateral loads. They would also have no need to decorate such a utilitarian item as they have here. This may be a
water bowl or wash basin or even food bowl, keeping in mind they had thousands of workers to feed daily, that in itself would be an epic undertaking!
These really do appear more suited for food and water than as a pivot or ball joint, but that said;
These bowls could
work as a pivot point for something like a mast crane, either a single mast or dual mast, as in this image:
Of course this image came from the renaissance period (it's from a book by Alberti). The Egyptians didn't have pulleys or capstans, but what they
was the Shadoof
This is probably the one device that is the real "secret" to the construction of not only the pyramids but all the Egyptian monuments, and an
integral part of their way of life. The Shadoof was used to haul water up out of the Nile, or wells, to provide irrigation to their fields.
See description here
The wonderful thing about this crude basic lifting device is that it was well known to ancient Egyptians and long been used for lifting. It was
to them. Best of all we have carved depictions of it being used for lifting of heavy weights;
I'd suggest this was the work horse behind much of the pyramid construction. One could see from the images above, how easily it may have occurred to
the Egyptians that this device could haul stone blocks up level by level just as it hauls water up. It's just a matter of engineering them for the
The part of your post on the Grand Gallery and the wear and tear of obvious heavy lifting there probably
pertain to the movement of the stone
blocks pertaining to the Gallery and King and Queen's chambers itself, being up to 70 tons I doubt a Shadoof would be of much use. The holes lining
the edge of the Gallery were probably meant to hold posts to keep a stone slab from sliding back down once it had be lifted to that point. Since
Egyptians were familiar with the concept of a Shadoof, which relies on a counterweight, they may have employed something long those lines in the
Gallery, with a counterweight opposite the apex of the gallery (now buried in the mass of the pyramid). The counterweight itself could have been made
up of rubble and smaller stones hauled into place at the apex, then as the stone slab was slid up the Gallery, it would have been locked into place
via the post holes, and the counterweight reassembled at the apex. This process could have been repeated as long as it took to get the heavier stones
into place over the King's chamber. There was probably an external ramp leading to the base of the Grand Gallery which would still be open to the
sky. In this application, the ropes would have be extremely stout to withstand the abrasion (probably to the point a human hand could hardly grip it),
and liberal oils and water would have been poured over the top step to lubricate the rope as it slid over this apex. That accounts for your wear and
The Shadoof's are a perfect description of Herodotus' machine.
That's all I have for now, sorry for the long-winded reply!